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Sheriff's Office Plans to Add Body Cameras

by on December 04, 2019 12:15 PM

The Centre County Sheriff's Office will soon become the latest local law enforcement agency to begin wearing body cameras.

Centre County commissioners unanimously agreed on Tuesday to move to next week's consent agenda a contract with Axon Enterprise, Inc. to provide 14 body cameras with accessories and customer support for the sheriff's office.

"I think it’s the wave of the future," Sheriff Bryan Sampsel said.

The five-year contract is for $62,594.20, with an an initial payment of $19,483, followed by $10,777.80 each year through December 2024. It includes new cameras and accessories every two and a half years.

Commissioner Michael Pipe said Sampsel negotiated a good deal. Sampsel said if the contract is signed by Dec. 15, it will save about $7,000.

The cameras are funded in the county's 2020 budget, and Sampsel said his office is pursuing a grant to further reduce the cost.

Sampsel added that he is currently working on a policy proposal to govern use of the cameras.

"It sounds like a great idea to increase the safety of our deputies and also the general public," Commissioner Mark Higgins said of the cameras.

The sheriff's office will join four municipal police departments as Centre County law enforcement agencies using body cameras. Ferguson Township, Patton Township, State College and Spring Township police departments have all acquired the devices in the past two years.

Bellefonte and Penn State police are the county's only local police department not using body cameras, but Bellefonte Borough Council has been considering a proposal to add them over the past two months. Centre County District Attorney Bernie Cantorna has offered $15,000 from his office to assist Bellefonte with the estimated $75,000 cost.

Centre County Correctional Facility officers also began using body cameras this year.

Pennsylvania State Police conducted a pilot for use of body cameras in 2018, but has not implemented them at a statewide level.



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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